Behind H&R – Christian Heine’s BMW E9 3.0 CSi
"Would you like to see the E9?" I was asked. We had just finished our tour of the H&R factory, and shortly after, our original itinerary had us on our way back to Essen for the final days of the Essen Motor Show. The prospect of seeing an E9 - Christian Heine's E9 - was alluring, as I was certainly expecting a nice car. However, through the years, I've seen my fair share; predictably, I wasn't jumping at the opportunity. Interested? Sure. But not enthralled. Be that as it may, what rolled out from behind the garage door was entirely unexpected. Christian's E9 was far from run-of-the-mill. Instead, my jaw hung in bewilderment, as it was perhaps the one of the most enjoyable cars I've seen all year.
What had began as a photo shoot of the H&R factory had quickly diminished. Our focus on the facility quickly turned, and the E9 Coupe had my sole attention. Shrouded by the gloomy, cloudy skies, the deep black E9 was softly lit: a photographer's dream. The paver stones under the car offered the perfect balance of texture against the slick, sleek car; for someone as picky as I am towards photo locations, things were working brilliantly. Before I knew it, I was asking to reposition the car, angle by angle, as snapshots grew into a full-on shoot for an unanticipated StanceWorks feature.
Christian Heine's E9 is simple by any measure, but its retained elegance is what solidifies the car's impact. E9s need little in the way of improvement; short of the 507 and select others, the E9 is perhaps BMW's most beautiful creation, just as they came from the factory. The changes made to Christian's E9 were concise and methodical, and straight to the point. Soaked in fresh rich, black paint, the E9's presence was only enhanced. Some say black is the only choice of color for any car, and I rarely agree, but Christian's E9 is certainly an exception. Chrome accents and details play up the car's imposing contrast, sealing the deal.
17" BBS RS wheels play off of the car's polished and chromed brightwork, sporting a full-polish finish that leaves no room for improvement. Their measurements are modest, making good use of the E9's small wells without going overboard. The car's monochromatic black-and-chrome aesthetic is both modern and timeless, fitting for a classic that lives in the German countryside. Tucked behind the wheels are, suitably, a set of H&R coil-overs, currently raised thanks to the car's recent participation in a road rally across the country. Christian spoke of his frustration, wishing that our arrival had been better timed so that the car could sit at his desired ride height. I assured him that despite his worries, the car was perfect as-is.
Inside the car, it's all about the details. It's impossible to miss the dash-mounted co-driver, whose name escapes me. However, her companionship is aided by the addition of an era-correct Nardi wheel and Alpina shift knob, both with dark, matching wood to bring forth the E9's beautiful wood-ladden interior. The "black" exterior theme carries into the car as well, with freshly re-done black leather seats and door cards. The interior touches add to the exterior's tenor: only add the necessities.
I've quelled the regret of selling my own E9, but this has brought upon a resurgence. In many ways, Christian's car reminds me of my own, only far more refined, which serves to only make the pain of regret worse. However, to witness such a car is an overwhelming joy, surpassing any heartbreak that began to stir. Furthermore, Christian's E9 only proves that from the suspensions they build to the cars that use them, the H&R family has a knack for doing seemingly everything well.